Volunteer Opportunities at Avondale

At Books4Cause, we strongly believe in the values of community engagement and mutual aid. In order to increase community involvement, we’ve decided to launch a volunteer project. In addition to donations, this is another way to support us in our goal of redistributing books. 


This past Monday, we had our first two volunteers come in to help us get started. Each volunteer signed up for a 1-hour time slot, which they spent assisting our librarian prep books for the shelves. Many of the books that are donated to us are put back out on our shelves for someone else to enjoy, but before they can be shelved, they need to be sorted, organized, and stickered. Volunteers helped to separate the books by category and sticker them so that Molly could get them quickly out on the shelves and into the community. The volunteers together prepped over 7 boxes of books! Thank you, Evan and Isabela!


We are looking for more volunteers to come help us out, especially as we see an increase in people coming to get books around the holiday season. If you are interested in volunteering with Books4Cause, fill out the form on our website to let us know your availability and contact information, and Molly will be in touch with you shortly.


We are only allowing one volunteer per one-hour slot to ensure that we can keep up social distancing practices, and as always, volunteers are required to wear masks at all times while inside.

Winter Updates at Avondale: New Saturday hours, weekday hours changed, & holiday display

Due to community interest, we are now open on Saturdays from 12 PM – 6 PM. Additionally, we are changing our weekday hours to 12 PM – 6 PM. This way, we can be open after most business hours to accommodate our working friends in the neighborhood. 

Additionally, in honor of winter and the upcoming holidays, we’ve decorated our library with winter decorations and put up a holiday display filled with goodies for you to take home and enjoy! We have winter, Christmas, and Hanukkah books and movies, as well as some yummy candies and even some wrapped toys and games to give out to anyone looking for a nice present for their loved ones. As always, everything is free, but we do ask that you limit to 1 gift per visit in order to ensure that everyone has a chance to pick something out.











Hope to see you soon!

2931 N. Milwaukee Ave 60618

Hours: Mon – Sat 12 PM – 6 PM

Our Impact So Far in Avondale

As of November 30, 2020, our Avondale library has rehomed over 1351 books! We are so glad to see our community utilizing our resources and look forward to continuing to distribute free books.


We have also had over 368 in-library visits and over 439 cart visits. We are always happy to see new and familiar faces. A few friends visit us almost every day! 

Our community has generously made 99 donations, ranging in size and types of books, DVDs, CDs, etc. It’s been so exciting to see our community lend a hand to one another through donating books for others to treasure. We are looking forward to seeing new people come in and regular visitors continue to come pick up and drop off books.

Pickups in New York City

Did you know about our NYC pickup service? We service the Manhattan and Bronx areas once a month, and are happy to pick up books from your home or workplace! You can see the dates of our next pickup and learn how to schedule one by clicking here. The NYC pickups have a suggested $35 service charge, to cover the cost of transporting books back to Chicago; however, this fee can be waived if the donor is unable to make the charge.


You can also donate CDs, DVDs, vinyl, and electronics through our book drives, which are sold to cover operating and shipping costs.

Your donation benefits building libraries across Africa through the African Library Project, and supports our free libraries in Chicago!

How we’re helping you stay safe & healthy

With the stay-at-home advisory active in Illinois and many other states, we at Books4Cause see an even greater need to continue distributing books to people stuck inside and getting the quarantine blues. With IDPH and CDC recommendations and guidelines in place, we believe that we can continue our operations in a safe and healthy manner.


For donations, we have contactless drop-off in both our Skokie and Avondale locations. The Skokie warehouse, at 3415 Madison St., has a vestibule just past the front door where you can easily drop off your books. At Avondale, you can come inside and drop them off anywhere in the library without having to be within 6ft of our librarian. Additionally, we are still offering contactless pickups, where you can leave boxes of books on your driveway or porch and we will come pick them up, no contact necessary.


At our Avondale library, we are restricting inside traffic to no more than 5 visitors (and one librarian) at a time. We also require visitors to wear masks inside, covering the mouth and nose at all times. Finally, we have hand sanitizer available, and frequently disinfect our books, shelves, and other frequently touched surfaces.


If you have any questions about our Covid-19 health measures, or anything else, you can always call us at (800) 570-3698.

Lincoln Park Closure

We are sad to say goodbye to our Lincoln Park location. Due to the new stay-at-home mandate, we have decided to shut down the Lincoln Park library. We are sorry to leave, but hope visitors will continue to take and donate books at our Avondale library.

The Avondale location, located at 2931 N. Milwaukee, will remain open pending any other restrictions or a significant decrease in community engagement. We are observing the guidelines set by the Illinois and Chicago Departments of Public Health, including limiting the number of persons inside to 6, frequent sanitizing of books and shelves, and required mask-wearing for employees and visitors.

The Avondale hours are:
Mon/Wed- 12pm-7pm
Tu/Thu/Fri- 12pm-5pm
Sat/Sun- closed

New Late-Night Hours at Avondale

What better way is there to relax after work than kicking back with a new book? Starting next week, we’ll be giving you the opportunity to do just that! On Mondays and Wednesdays, our Avondale free library will be open from 12-7 PM. You can come by after a long day, find a fresh John Grisham novel or poetry collection––or whatever else floats your boat––and take it home to enjoy.

New Avondale hours:
Monday- 12-7 PM
Tuesday- 12-5 PM
Wednesday- 12-7 PM
Thursday- 12-5 PM
Friday- 12-5 PM
Sat/Sun- Closed

Coming Soon––Free Library in Bronzeville

Working with both Bright Star Church and Skokie Valley Agudath Jacob Synagogue, Books4Cause is excited to announce our third free library, opening soon in Bronzeville! In addition to having free books available, this location will also be a community resource center with computers. Following Covid-19 safety practices, visitors will be able to reserve time slots in advance and all equipment will be sanitized in between uses.

The library will be located inside of Bright Star Church, at 735 E 44th St, Chicago, IL, 60653. More information will be coming soon.

Avondale free library has moved next door

Our free library in Avondale has moved to 2931 N. Milwaukee Ave., on the corner of Milwaukee and Gresham. The new location is right next door to the old one, but is much more spacious and bright! We had a lot of fun moving and decorating the new space. We have all the same books from the old location, plus plenty of room for more shelves! We also have lots of school supplies available to everyone, all for free. Stop by today and check out the new space!

What Books4Cause librarians like to read (and have in stock!)

Molly, Avondale Librarian and Administrative Assistant


I really enjoy our “Classic Literature” shelf at Avondale, where we have books, plays, and poems that are widely considered to be important and well-known titles. We have a copy of Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut, which is one of my favorite novels. I’m a fan of antiwar literature, and this book is one of the best. Vonnegut was a genius, and I appreciate how he imbued his work with humor and sass while also speaking truthfully about humanity’s capabilities for destruction and evil. 


Another great find on the Classics shelf is The Road by Cormac McCarthy. I actually read this book in AP World Lit my senior year of high school, and it’s stuck with me in the years since then. I love McCarthy’s novels, and much of my own writing has been influenced by his writing style. I could not put The Road down––I finished the entire book in one sitting. It’s very dark and haunting, but if you’re a fan of post-apocalyptic fiction and are okay with a little gruesomeness, it is above all a beautiful story about paternal love and hope.  


Another one of my favorites is a copy of The Annotated Alice by Martin Gardner. Alice in Wonderland is my mom’s favorite book, and I loved reading it when I was younger and poring over the original Tenniel illustration. I like The Annotated Alice because it has the texts of both Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, as well as illustrations and some commentary. 





Maya, Lincoln Park Librarian and Social Media Management

I’m a huge thriller fan, so both of my picks are mystery novels! The first, Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl, is one that always flies off the shelves––and for good reason. Flynn turned the mystery genre on its head with this novel. It’s completely unexpected, highly suspenseful, and a brilliantly-written insight into a woman’s psyche. A must-read for any mystery fan!


My second pick is Luckiest Girl Alive, by Jessica Knoll. Like Gone Girl, this novel also centers around a woman’s experience, but also delves a little deeper into how trauma can affect one’s life as an adult. Reading this novel can be at times an uncomfortable, almost visceral experience, but I also enjoyed its rawness and honesty.